Friday, April 30, 2010

Being a Zionist invalidates your opinion about the use of the hiyab, according to María Antonia Iglesias.

One of the most prolific journalists, opinion makers, polemicists and left-wingers in Spain is María Antonia Iglesias, who often appears in television debates. On Saturday, April 24, 2010, she appeared in La Noria, a TV programme broadcasted by Spanish channel Telecinco. The programme usually focuses on matters pertaining to the private and public lives of famous people, but it also has a space for political debates.

Recently, Najwa Malha, a muslim girl living in Spain, was banned from attending high school wearing a hiyab. Her case, along with French and Belgian propositions to ban the burka, has resurrected the debate on the Islamic veil in Spain, which has been responded by La Noria with its own debate on the matter.

Among the debaters were two well know left-wingers: Pilar Rahola and María Antonia Iglesias (the aforementioned one). Both of them showed two different views: Pilar Rahola criticized the use of the Islamic veil and María Antonia Iglesias defended it. During the debate, Iglesias said about Rahola's position on the matter (translation between quotation marks, as accurate as possible):

"It would be very believable (and excuse this personal allusion, but the public has to know certain things) if you were not a convinced Zionist, a pro-Jewish militant."

Rahola's reaction (which didn't consist on denying her stance as a Zionist, which is well known) encountered this response by Iglesias, which was repeated four times: "What do you mean, you're not?" Then, Iglesias stated: "Of course the worst, those who practice military terrorism against the Palestinian people."

Seconds later, and trying to interrupt Rahola's statements: "You defend Israel's positions, they're military terrorists." Later, about Rahola's stance as a pro-Israeli activist: "... a purely ideological interpretation..., which I respect, but the people must know what to take into account, and why are you defending that position."

This was part of Rahola's response: "You have no fucking idea, María Antonia, no fucking idea!" Surprisingly for me, Rahola's statement encountered an effusive response by the public, which was followed by Iglesias' questions regarding Rahola's position about Israel and the Middle East. Rahola's answer was: "I'm in favour of peace... but today is not the debate [about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict]".

Then, she was replied by Iglesias with this statement (please pay attention): "Yes, of course, Jews' peace."

Should the debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be confused with that about the use of the Islamic veil? Why is not a Zionist perfectly able to judge about the Islamic veil? If Rahola had declared that a defender of the Palestinian cause is not able to debate about the issue, what would be Iglesias' response?

You can watch the video here (in Spanish).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is al-Fatah actually a moderate faction?

Not only what the mainstream media shows about Israel and its conflicts is important; we must also take into account those facts which are not told by Spanish newspapers. And Israeli daily AURORA DIGITAL, which is written in Spanish on the Internet, has published two articles whose content rarely appears in El País or Público.
One of the articles is entitled Analysis: who are the moderate Palestinians? Almost the entire article below (as accurate as possible, between quotation marks):

"Al-Fatah, the main component of the Palestinian Authority, is in some kind of stew. It would like to launch a third intifada (an armed uprising against Israel) but it thinks it has not the power at this moment.
The source of this is none other than Nabil Shaath, an al-Fatah's veteran civil servant. He would like to see the 'popular resistance' against the West Bank security fence (which prevents suicide attacks and has brought some peace not only for Israel but for the Palestinians, and which has allowed the Palestinian economy to strengthen itself); against the construction in the east of Jerusalem by Israel (although he is not opposed to the Palestinian construction in the east of Jerusalem, which in some way is never reported), and against the Israeli settlements in the West Bank (which occupy approximately the 9% of the West Bank, almost insignificant for the dreams of the Palestinian society).
He also sees as a justification for an armed struggle against Israel, the 'siege' of Gaza. Gaza, dou you remember? The area from which Israel entirely withdrew in 2005? Gaza, the zone from which Hamas fires rockets against Israeli cities, like Sderot? Gaza, where all the gun-running passes through the Sinai peninsula to fire much more powerful attacks against Israel?
'We are not talking about here whether we have the right to do it or not [to initiate another intifada]', said Shaath to the Jerusalem Post, 'we are talking about whether it would be effective and whether we have the capacities and the desire'.
Take into account that an 'armed uprising' or 'intifada' is not but other word for a terrorist attack: bombings against cafés, pizzerias, discotheques, buses and other public places. This is what Nabil Shaath, a high-profile Fatah's civil servant, considers undoubtedly to have the 'right' to do.
Is that moderate? If it is so, with the moderates as potential associates of peace, who does need 'extremist' enemies? Which is actually the difference between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas?
Within this hate and this thirst for violence, there is an opportunity for peace. The reason for which Shaath doubts whether Fatah has the 'capacity' or not at this moment are the big losses which the Palestinians suffered during the last intifada. Israel's high fire power, specially demonstrated during its counteroffensive after the 2002 Pesach massacre in Netanya, restored Israel's deterrence, at least regarding the West Bank. (It took many more years of Hamas' provocations until Israel restored its power of deterrence over Hamas in December 2008 and January 2009).
Those are the good news. The bad news are that both the 'moderate' Fatah and the 'extremist' Hamas are now preparing themselves to the next clash ('popular resistance'), trying to acquire much more powerful rockets, launchers and weapons.
Are these Palestinian leaders like that kind of people who want to live in peace with Israel, inside the borders of their own State? Palestinian State. Two-State solution.
Will be this one a solution? Not if the leaders of the 'moderate' Palestinian Authority are in charge."

Monday, April 12, 2010

More lies about Israel are told.

Spanish daily Público has published an article by Eugenio García Gascón about the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners under Israeli custody, and also about a new Israeli law. Excerpts from the article below (translated as accurate as possible, between quotation marks):

"Israeli penitentiary authorities have sanctioned tens of Palestinian prisoners, which are considered responsible for the three-day hunger strike the inmates have called for. The first day of this protest has taken place on April 7, and the two remaining days will be 17 and 27 of this month. The measures of punishment affect inmates of several centres, including 36 prisoners from Damun, a prison located near Haifa.

The suspected leaders of the strike, in which more than 7,000 prisoners has taken part, have been punished with measures such as being not allowed to go to the playground during just one hour on a day and the prohibition of buying in the prison store, as well as of corresponding their families. The inmates have responded through threatening to increase the protests, which they're carrying out to improve their quality of life.

The Palestinian inmates demand a package of measures such as unrestricted visits (also for the prisoners natives to the Gaza Strip), the inmates being allowed to take graduation exams, and putting an end to the isolation of prisoners as a punishment, a widely used measure. They also ask for unrestricted access to medical attention, and putting an end to collective punishments against all of the prison population."

I'm not an expert on penitentiary discipline, but as far as I'm concerned, in all countries around the world punishments like isolation are applied to prisoners who take part in acts of disobedience. Maybe some of the measures applied by Israel are wrongful ones, but many others are perfectly justified.
Indeed, we must take into account that Israel is at war. The measures applied by a country against its enemies during wartime are not those which are applied during peacetime. In the Israeli case, those prisoners responsible for terrorist activities are not only criminals, but enemies of the State during wartime, too. And during wartime, enemies of the State (even those who are not considered criminal offenders) are subjected to a more strict incarceration regime.
Exempli gratia, Luftwaffe pilots shot down over the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain (thus enemies of the State during wartime) were imprisoned during years before being released, without being allowed to meet their relatives.

Público's article also deals with a new law which allows the Israeli authorities to expel from the West Bank those who have not a permit to be there issued by those authorities. The information regarding this issue is summarized inside the article as follows: "The order turn many Palestinians into infractors of the law", thus trying to tell its readers that the new law is primarily intended to expel Palestinians from their land.
What is not told is that this law has been passed in order to act against non-Palestinians. As written yesterday by Spanish journalist and blogger Jorge Marirrodriga:

"Israel has passed new legislation which, apparently, will take effect tomorrow, Tuesday, and which will allow to deport those who are in the West Bank illegaly. The N.G.O.'s which work there have made a fuss through accusing Israel of taking an unprecedented apartheid measure because such a measure theoretically could be applied to the Palestinians. Theoretically and could be.

Don't let them deceive us. That measure will actually be applied to the legion of ngoers that live at the expense of the other people's money in the name of the Palestinian cause, and that instead of dedicating themselves to help their fellow men and women they dedicate themselves to politically attack Israel. These ones are those who will be kicked out with the new legislation."

Marirrodriga ends his article talking about the collusion of those ngoers and the media to politically attack Israel, exploiting the fact that Israel has passed a new law: "The perfect alibi."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Anti-Semitic joke on TV.

It has occured just a few minutes ago; in fact, I was using the laptop when it happened and I've come here as fast as I could (after having overcome the shock). Let's see what has happened.
There is a Spanish TV channel called laSexta. Among its programmes, one of the most popular ones is SÉ LO QUE HICISTEIS, which is broadcasted between 15:25 and 17:30. One of its presenters is Dani Mateo, who runs a parody of a TV news bulletin inside this programme, based on actual events.
One of this events was the selling of the famous list made by Oskar Schindler in order to save more than 1,100 Jews from the nazis. Schindler's story was dramatized in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.
I can't remember now the exact words employed by Mateo, but it was something like this:

"Taking into account that the owner of the list is probably a Jew and that it's possible that one of his relatives is on the list, now it can be said that, for a million euros, a Jew is capable of selling his own mother."

I don't know whether Dani Mateo, or the person who is the real author of the joke, is actually an anti-Semite. What I know is that making that kind of jokes makes him like he is an anti-Semite.
If I find the video, I'll link it here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bastenier's double standard against Israel.

Miguel Ángel Bastenier wrote an article for Spanish daily El País, which was published on Wednesday, March 31, 2010. In the article, Bastenier claims that 21 United Nations' Resolutions call Israel to stop the so-called "judaization" of East Jerusalem and to withdraw from those territories conquered by the Jewish State in 1967. Under this premise is Bastenier advocating for a severe punishment against Israel by the United States. His article begins with this question: "What's necessary for President Barack Obama to be really annoyed with Israel instead of just saying that he is annoyed?"
Of course, Bastenier forgets those United Nations' Resolutions which were violated by the Arabs. For example, he cites the Security Council's Resolution 242, which he only applies to Israel, like most of those who criticize the Jewish State; it's of course another way to single Israel out for criticism. Let's see what the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242 really says in its articles 1 and 2:

"1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which would include the application of both of the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or state of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;"
2. Affirms further the necessity
(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;"

Bastenier doesn't mention that:
1.- The U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 1, principle (i), calls Israel to withdraw from "territories occupied in the recent conflict", instead of "the territories occupied in the recent conflict"; that is, it fails to specify what of those territories are subjected to the withdrawal. So, could be said that East Jerusalem's annexation by Israel and its inherent power to construct Jewish homes there actually constitutes a violation of the Resolution?
2.- Non-recognition, threats and attacks carried out by the Arabs against Israel were (and still are) clear violations of the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 1, principle (ii) and article 2, necessities (a) and (c).
3.- The U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 1, principle (ii) and article 2, necessity (c) have been approved on the basis that only mutual recognition and repect between those parties involved in the conflict could lead to peace. Those who prompted the conflict through non-recognition, threats and aggressions were the Arabs.
4.- The U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 2, necessity (a) has been approved in order to avoid the blockade of Eilat's port in Israel through the closing of the Straits of Tiran, an action performed by Egypt in May 1967. This action prompted Israel to strike in self defense, thus starting the Six-Day War, which led to the occupation.
5.- About the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 2, necessity (b), please read here (at point #7).

So, taking into account the five aforementioned points, we come to these two conclusions: the Arabs are those who prompted the war which led to the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, and the Arabs always were (and still are) violating it. Could Israel be exhorted to comply with this Resolution, in the absence of an Arab proper response to it?
Another interesting question is the lack of historical accuracy by Bastenier, who is a historian. He writes that Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai in March 1957, a few months after the 1956 Suez Crisis. This clash began after Egypt blockaded Eilat's port (in the aforementioned way) and nationalized the Suez Canal. The United Kingdom, France and Israel agreed to attack Egypt as a response.
The international community, led by both the Soviet Union and Eisenhower himself, prompted British and French withdrawals, but Israel was not forced to withdraw from the Sinai in the way described by Bastenier. Israel only accepted to withdraw once an accord was reached in order to implement the U.N.E.F. as a guarantee for the achievement of peace. Then, in March 1957 (once Israel's demands based on security grounds were satisfied) the last Israeli soldier returned to the Jewish State.
Please notice that U.N.E.F.'s personnel was expelled by Egypt in May 1967, prior to the re-militarization of the Sinai and the Gaza Strip and the blockade of Eilat's port, prompting Israel to go to war.
But Bastenier claims that Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw, and then he writes that the United States never performed a similar, serious pressure against the Jewish State. What about Lyndon Baines Johnson, who succeeded John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1963? When Israel tried to obtain the green light by Washington to attack the Arabs in self defense during the 1967 Middle East crisis (Foreign Minister Abba Eban was sent to the White House by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol), Johnson refused to give the Israelis any support in a moment of a major existential threat against an isolated State of Israel (prior to his visit to Washington, Abba Eban travelled to Paris and London with the same mission; Charles de Gaulle refused to give Israel any support, while Joseph Harold Wilson gave Abba Eban the green light).
The 1967 Six-Day War is masterly treated in Michael B. Oren's Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, while he summarizes the previous and the following periods of belligerency (that is, causes and consequences of the war).
Bastenier also claims in his article that the Palestinian National Authority is favourable to the implementation of U.N.'s Resolutions, something which is false. General Assembly's Resolution 181 was adopted in order not only to create two States for two peoples, but to put the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem under international administration. The P.N.A. wants East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State, and of course it will not renounce to Bethlehem. Furthermore, al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which constantly threat and attack Israel (thus violating U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242), belong to Fatah, the so-called moderate Palestinian faction which rules the P.N.A.
Another Bastenier's statement, a shocking one, is that Hamas "has put an end to the terrorist war" against the Jewish State, when the truth is that this is a moment of armed clashes between Hamas and Israel, due to terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip, which affected Israelis and non-Israelis.